Donna Ed­wards for U.S. Se­nate

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

I am proud to join the vot­ers of the 4th district in their over­whelm­ing sup­port of Con­gress­woman Donna Ed­wards’ bid for U.S. Senator. Ms. Ed­wards, a sin­gle mom and at­tor­ney, will draw upon her eight years of ex­pe­ri­ence in Congress, com­mu­nity or­ga­niz­ing back­ground, and life story to be an ef­fec­tive and pro­gres­sive Demo­cratic voice in the Se­nate.

Ac­cord­ing to her web­site, Ms. Ed­wards has held lead­er­ship po­si­tions in Congress, sup­ported pro­gres­sive is­sues, and is un­equiv­o­cal in her sup­port of So­cial Se­cu­rity, Medi­care, and Oba­macare. She was an early sup­porter of the pres­i­dent’s Iran nu­clear deal, and has gar­nered sup­port from the ma­jor­ity of Prince Ge­orge’s County Coun­cil mem­bers, var­i­ous unions, EMILY’s list, and other pro­gres­sive or­ga­ni­za­tions.

When Ms. Ed­wards, the first African-Amer­i­can woman elected to Congress from Mary­land, an­nounced her can­di­dacy to re­place re­tir­ing Sen. Bar­bara Mikul­ski (D-Md.) polls, pun­dits, and es­tab­lish­ment in­sid­ers gave her lit­tle chance of win­ning.

Con­versely, the Demo­cratic es­tab­lish­ment deemed Rep. Chris Van Hollen, (D-Md., 8th), the pro­hib­i­tive fa­vorite in the race. He was a vet­eran con­gress­man, had mil­lions in cam­paign money, an ex­ten­sive net­work of friends and al­lies, and early en­dorse­ments from PACs, unions, and some African-Amer­i­can elected of­fi­cials. And, I sus­pect some in the es­tab­lish­ment even viewed Van Hollen as a pro­to­typ­i­cal Se­nate can­di­date and agree with State Se­nate Pres­i­dent Thomas V. Mike Miller’s con­clu­sion, that Van Hollen is “…a leader who has been born to the job,” as he was re­cently quoted in the Wash­ing­ton Post. It is re­veal­ing to con­trast Mr. Miller’s sen­ti­ment with that ex­pressed by Sen. Bar­bara Mikul­ski 30 years ago, dur­ing her first Se­nate cam­paign, she was quoted as say­ing: “A lot of Amer­i­cans, black or white or fe­male, are al­ways told that they don’t look the part [of a Senator]. It’s one of the old­est code words.” And just last year she re­sponded to the no­tion that gen­der should play less of a role in our elec­tions by say­ing “When­ever you have a mi­nor­ity sta­tus in our so­ci­ety, it’s like, ‘Oh, why should that count?’ … Well, it does count,” she said.

Crit­ics of Mr. Miller’s state- ment say it smacks of white male en­ti­tle­ment be­cause only white males, with the ex­cep­tion of Sen. Bar­bara Mikul­ski, have rep­re­sented Mary­land in the U.S. Se­nate since it first con­vened in 1789. Van Hollen sup­port­ers, how­ever, claim that this elec­tion is not about race or gen­der, but sim­ply about who is the “best per­son.” But, this claim is con­tra­dicted by re­cent polls show­ing a deep split along racial lines among vot­ers.

Look, both can­di­dates are qual­i­fied and good Democrats, but I am vot­ing for Donna Ed­wards. I be­lieve that her life ex­pe­ri­ences, which are sim­i­lar to many of those who suf­fer from in­equities in our so­ci­ety, make her in­nately at­tuned to and bet­ter able to ex­press their ur­gent needs on the Se­nate floor. Donna will not waiver in her fight against gen­der, racial, and pay in­equities and for crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form, and bet­ter job and ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for poor and mid­dle class fam­i­lies

I am also vot­ing for her be­cause our rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the Se­nate need to bet­ter re­flect the pop­u­la­tion de­mo­graph­ics of our state.

Matt Wills,

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